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Biology Chair Appointed Dean of Graduate School

Steven W. Matson, professor and chair of UNC’s department of biology, will become dean of the Graduate School effective July 1.

A member of the faculty since 1983, Matson is widely respected for his teaching, mentoring and research in the field of genetics and molecular biology, said Bernadette Gray-Little, executive vice chancellor and provost, in announcing the appointment.

Matson will oversee the approximately 8,000 graduate students in Carolina’s 66 doctoral and 100 master’s programs.

Gray-Little called Matson “an innovative and collaborative administrator whose background and extensive experience working with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows make him especially well-suited to further the University’s efforts to attract the best students to the Graduate School and ensure that they receive a quality education.”

On the national level, Matson is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award and has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, where he served as an editorial board member from 2000 to 2005.

At Carolina, he has taught a variety of courses, including Current Topics in Biology, Advanced Molecular Biology, Advanced Cell Biology and honors sections of Genetics and Molecular Biology. A 2004 recipient of the University’s Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and a 2005 Institute of Arts and Humanities Leadership Fellow, Matson also is a member of the Chancellors Advisory Committee, Bank of America Distinguished Professorship review panel and Honors Program Faculty Advisory Board. He is a past member and chair of the Pre-health Professions Advising Task Force and has served on various University administrative review committees through the years.

Matson’s research focuses on DNA repair, conjugative DNA transfer and enzymatic mechanisms and biological roles of DNA helicases. His laboratory’s long-term goal is to understand the molecular role of several helicases in the bacterium E. coli and the budding yeast S. cerevisiae.

A native of Coos Bay, Ore., Matson earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Colgate University. His master’s and doctoral degrees are from the University of Rochester, both in biochemistry.

He succeeds Linda Dykstra, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of pharmacology and psychology, who will return to full-time research and graduate student training.


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